Both my husband and I were born and grew up in east end Toronto. We were married on October 21 1950. We lived in North Bay from then until February 1952. We returned to Toronto and lived in the Beach in a house with two rooms plus a sun-room. There were very few rentals in those days too. We bought land at 158 Fairmount Avenue (which was later renamed "Dorset") and started to build our own home. We moved in when it was partially finished on May 1 1953. We had three children here: Judith, Susan and Douglas. At that time we had a sump pump, septic tank, ditches and dirt roads that were oiled twice a year with black oil. It was real fun indeed getting black oil and small stones out of childrens knees when they fell -- not to mention, of course, black oil on shoes, clothes, and in the house! Ditches were another source of "entertainment". The children just had to test how much water was in them. Sometimes they had to stay indoors because they simply ran out of dry boots to wear. The night of Hurricane Hazel was particularly scarry because the ditches really overflowed.
When we first moved in, we put our name on a waiting list for a telephone and were told it was a one year wait -- and it took just about that long. There was a telephone booth at the corner of Fairmount and Kingston Road for anyone to use. We also picked up our mail at a store at 2855 Kingston Road.
When we finally did get sewers and paved roads, you could not open your windows while they were working that summer for the dust. The heavy equipment made the house shake. You also had to park your car a few streets away and carry groceries from there.
I used to go by bus (with the kids) on Friday to the nearest super market, Loblaws, which was at Midland and Kingston Road. My husband would pick us up. It was really wonderful when Dominion stores opened at McCowan and Kingston Road (where Beckers and the video store are now). I used to travel to St. George Street and Bloor for my obstetrician appointments. I took the bus on the Kingston Road and Bingham loop, the Kingston Road streetcar to Coxwell, a streetcar to Danforth and then the Danforth Bloor car to St. George. It took about one and a half hours each way. In 1954 I wanted to get diaper service -- rented cloth diapers that are picked up, washed and returned. But I was told that they didnt come out of Toronto that far. I thought that was funny because out here was where all the young families were.
A Bookmobile (a portable library) came to Cliffcrest plaza once a week. It was wonderful when the permanent library opened in the plaza. There were not too many doctors out here in the early fifties. The nearest hospital was East General. Scarborough General opened in 1956. A lot of families were happy for that.
In the early sixties the children could take swimming lessons in the summer at the outdoor pool at Birchmount. Buses picked up the children at Halbert along with volunteer parents who monitored the children. When Halbert got the pool, my children took all their Red Cross lessons there.
Playing in the Halbert Band was a wonderful experience for the children. They entered the Kiwanis Festivals and won numerous times.
Mr. Richardson, the Principal through most of the sixties, had a friend who was in the government forestry department. Each spring the children came home with little trees to plant. Mr. Richardson thus had a big hand in making our area green. We still have two large trees on our property thanks to him.
While Mr. Richardson was at Halbert, "Assembly" was held every Wednesday morning. Each class took a turn putting on the Assembly. Parents were invited -- I really enjoyed going. I remember Susan being involved in a puppet show with hand-made puppets -- "Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig".
From The Scarboro Heights Record V9 #2